Sweathogs storm Hunting Island

20 Feb 2015 | Pfc. Jonah V. Lovy Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort


Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 assisted in the beautification of Hunting Island Beach, St. Helena Island, S.C., Feb. 17-20. Marines with MWSS-273 are using their equipment to help with erosion control by removing man-made and natural debris.

Approximately thirty Marines and a Navy Corpsman from MWSS-273, also known as the Sweathogs, cleared dead trees, cleaned up debris and dug out rotting stumps in an effort to help out the community. South beach, north beach and the camp grounds were some of the areas cleared.

"We are here making the park a safer place for tourists and the community," said Sgt. Michael Alfaro, a combat engineer with MWSS 273. "We are clearing anything that would be a nuisance or safety hazard to visitors."

The Hunting Island beach attracts over one million visitors per year from all over the world. Over five miles of beach is available for visitors to enjoy. Hunting Island is among the fastest eroding beaches on the east coast, losing about 15 feet of sand each year.

The Sweathogs have been doing their part in the beautification of the Lowcountry since 1997, when they began assisting the park in erosion control and environmental restoration. Each year for nearly two weeks, MWSS-273 uses their equipment and does their part to help make Hunting Island safe and beautiful, said Alfaro.

The Marines brought out an array of heavy equipment including backhoe loaders, multi-terrain loaders, chainsaws, and shovels. Events such as this give Marines the chance to train and prepare for future deployments while serving the community at the same time. This support includes: internal airfield communications, weather services, expeditionary airfield services, aircraft rescue and firefighting, aircraft and ground refueling, essential engineering services, motor transport, messing, chemical defense, security and law enforcement, airbase commandant functions, and explosive ordinance disposal. Additionally, in garrison MWSS-273 is tasked to supplement air station facilities and services provided by Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, SC.

"It shows the community that MWSS-273 is here to serve the United States and South Carolina," said Alfaro. "We are not just here to take up space, we are here to make a difference everywhere we go."